International Women's Tribune Centre Records
The International Women's Tribune Centre (previously known as the International Women's Year Tribune Project) was established by the NGO Forum Planning Committees to continue the work begun at the 1975 International Women's Year Tribune. This first Tribune, which resulted from an initiative submitted by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to the Commission on the Status of Women, was part of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). (The U.N. had admitted NGOs to consultative status in the late 1940s. The Conference of NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC (CONGO) was originally comprised of 200 member organizations.) CONGO's function was to facilitate consultation with U.N. bodies and to bring together other NGOs with common interests, for exchange of information and action.
Following the 1975 IWY Tribune, CONGO created the NGO Forum Planning Committees to prepare activities relating to future International Women's Year Tribunes, to be held in 1980, 1985, and 1995. The Committees' responsibilities included arranging for facilities in host countries, organizing the program, fundraising, and collaborating with the U.N. Secretariat on publicizing the Tribunes and activities of NGO Forums. The NGO Forums Planning Committees also offered workshops; film screenings; demonstrations; informal meetings in the areas of education, appropriate technology, and health; and other topics of concern to women in the Third World.
In addition to these activities, the NGO Forum Planning Committees also created the International Women's Tribune Centre. The IWTC has evolved into a flexible "women's development support resource," the purpose of which is two-fold: 1) To maintain the momentum generated during the conferences of International Women's Year in 1975, which some termed the "largest consciousness-raising sessions ever held"; and 2) To encourage and assist women and women's projects, particularly in developing countries, in their efforts to achieve the objectives of the International women's Year World Plan of Action.
IWTC activities include providing resource, information and liason services, as well as technical assistance in the area of materials development to Third World women's groups. The Tribune Centre publishes a bi-monthly newsletter that is distributed gratis to individuals living outside the U.S. as a means of disseminating development-related information pertaining to women, and to encourage dialogue among women around the world.